I've got a better one: will Magness beat McGrath? The history of high school athletes (forgive me if this sounds like Entineish pseudo-science) suggests to me that when you're talking 880/mile the kids from the sunshine state have an inherent advantage of several/many seconds and that when matched head to head with those from rainier climes they frequently come out on the short end.
On the other hand, Mr. Magness has posted here, so I want him to win, be it 3:55, 4:05 or 4:15.
Yes as to sub 4. No way to tell on the other. Just too difficult to compare the accomplishments and the conditions. Being from Houston, I have much more info on Magness and I hope he does it. No matter how the race unfolds, it will be really fast compared to a prep race and both should get pulled to a great race. McGrath will be the home town favorite and have home track advantage, but that and fifty cents might get you a coke.
Best of luck to both of them. It has been a great year to follow track.
Re: rabbits. Pacemakers are Simon Kimata (1:46 800) and David Kiptoo (one of the best in the business). Pace will depend on what the boys up front want, but I would anticipate a 1:53-ish 800. I doubt anyone is in shape to break 3:50 at this point in the season. As for breaking 4-minutes, since Steve appears to have survived his prom hijinks, and if he can stay healthy over the next week, I think he will do it. McGrath has his District meet two days before Pre, so not so sure there. One guy who has followed him closely (I haven't) likened his running style to Seb Coe's. Good company to be in.
Here's the startlist (posted for the first time anywhere on the T&FN message board--keep subscribing!):
Bernard Lagat (Kenya)
Cornelius Chirchir (Kenya)
David Kiptoo (Kenya)--pace
Hudson deSouza (Brazil)
Abdelkader Hachlaf (Morocco)
Noah Ngeny (Kenya)
Laban Rotich (Kenya)
Kevin Sullivan (Canada)
Yousef Abdi (Australia)
Graham Hood (Canada)
The secret--as both Gabe Jennings (dang--he shows up all kinds of threads!) and Don Sage found out in their races in loaded Pre fields as preps--is finding the right guy(s) to hang with. Luck certainly enters into it.
The two preps obviously can't go with the leaders, and if they decide pre-race that Runner X is the kind of guy who will run the right pace they runs the risk of having X having a bad day (or, an exceedingly good one) and being way too fast or way too slow.
As I recall, Webb was perfectly positioned (by design or accident?) to have Berryhill to chase down on the backstretch, giving him life at a time when he must have been starting to really hurt.
But what the heck do I know about miling? I'm a triple jumper!
I think both are capable of breaking 4:00 if they run smart and don't get caught up in the early pace. However if McGrath is anywhere close he will kick Magness down. Come on 1:48+ in the wind and rain against little competition!
An interesting bit of trivia just hit me. If both of those guys do it, Sully will have run in races with 4 sub 4 high-schoolers. His own obviously(and I know I know-we go an extra year), Webb and these 2. It would be interesting to see what overlap there was in the fields between Webb's 2 sub fours and this race.